Salicylic acid vs Glycolic acid? Which one do you use if you have blackheads?

Both are good for unclogging pores. Here’s why:


This is the only acid that can penetrate oil. (Because it is oil-soluble. All other acids are water soluble.)

Thanks to this property, it can reach *inside* a pore and exfoliate the lining of the pore wall. This loosens and allows the contents of the pore to flow out more freely. So if you have a lot of oil, the oil will flow out more freely.

You are less likely to get hardened blackheads – you know those! The stubborn ones that are lodged inside the pore and won’t come out.




This is the strongest AHA of the acids. (Because it has the smallest molecular size, it travels into the skin deeper and faster than other AHAs).

Glycolic acid won’t go inside a pore, but it will exfoliate the skin on the surface of the skin. So it can help “unroof” the openings of pores and decrease the amount of dead skin that can get trapped inside the pore.

I like to use glycolic on my nose or a breakout because it gives me the best results in the shortest time possible. But it is also the most irritating acid.

Glycolic in a serum, exfoliant, or peel is usually too strong for me. (I have thin, non-oily skin.) But in a cleanser, which doesn’ts stay on skin long, my skin tolerates it well.

If you have thin and not too sensitive skin and still want the benefits of glycolic, I recommend you get it through a cleanser.